Marconi wins the Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park
Coglianese Photos/Janet Garaguso
Son of Tapit went wire-to-wire Sept. 7 at Belmont Park.
Marconiovercame a slow start to lead a talented six-horse field through a romping wire-to-wire score Sept. 7 in the $294,000 Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational at Belmont Park.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, the 4-year-old Tapit colt broke poorly under Jose Lezcano in the 1 1/2-mile marathon for 4-year-olds and upward, but quickly found his rhythm to take command through an opening quarter-mile in :25.23 on the fast main track.
Marconi, the 7-5 favorite, maintained a steady pace down the backstretch as Roaming Unionand Realmstalked through a half in :50.51 and three-quarters in 1:15.82.
You're to Blamesaved ground in fourth position before advancing along the rail into the final turn with Rocketrywaiting to launch his bid from the back of the pack. Never threatened, Marconi drew off comfortably down the lane for a three-length win in a final time of 2:28.07 on a fast track.
You're to Blame, also trained by Pletcher, found his best stride late to complete the exacta, 6 1/4-lengths in front of Realm. Rounding out the order of finish were Rocketry, Carlino, and Roaming Union. Maraudand Highland Skywere scratched.
Owned by Bridlewood Stable, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith, and Michael Tabor, Marconi has now won three-of-four starts at Belmont, including scores in the Flat Out Stakes and Woodford Reserve Brooklyn Invitational Stakes (G2) at extended distances.
Byron Hughes, assistant to Pletcher, said the talented gray has found his home in marathon events.
"He seems to like this race course," said Hughes. "He didn't break real sharp, but Jose did a good job of getting him up there and getting him in a comfortable rhythm. It wasn't ideal but when I saw the first fractions in :25 and change, I got a little more comfortable. He was able to pull away there from the group at the top of the stretch and win nicely."
Lezcano said he was pleased with the trip he engineered for Marconi.
"My horse broke a little slow. After that, I had to get him where we wanted to be towards the front," said Lezcano. "The horse inside didn't want to go, so I went to the lead and he stayed the same the whole way around. He got into a good rhythm and once he got going, he was comfortable."
Bred in Kentucky by Brushwood Stable, Marconi banked $165,000 in victory while improving his record to 5-2-1 from 12 starts. He paid $4.90 for a $2 win ticket.
By Tapit, Marconi is out of the Ponche broodmare Ponche de Leona, who also produced 2013 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man . He was purchased for $2 million from the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2016 when consigned by Eaton Sales.